“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into your, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like falling leaves.” John Muir
It’s been cold here. The kind of cold that makes me really wonder if Charlotte Mason might not have made an exception for some climates when she wrote that families should always be outdoors if at all possible. The other day our city was the coldest place on the planet when windchill was factored in, and anyone who has experienced windchill will tell you that it needs to be factored in. It can take -25 and send it tripping merrily along to -42, and it often does.
But I’ve got a whole set of newly knit accessories and a new parka. A real parka: hooded, to the knee. Ah. Amazing. Every morning and evening I head out the door, walking the dog. The snow squeaks. The parka rustles. The wind scurries along picking up snow and dancing it sideways for a few meters. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks. I learn some and laugh some. The other day, when we were the coldest place on Earth, I didn’t learn that till hours after my morning walk. I’m warm now, thank goodness.
With Rainer back to work, our morning routine has shifted 40 minutes earlier, and so that lovely blue light in the sky as it waits for the sunrise that I had cherished so much each morning is no longer a part of my walk. It will be again, certainly, the tilt of the Earth’s axis sees to that, but for now I bracket each segment of daylight with two black walks. Or rather orange, since the streetlights give off an orange tone and the snow and the snow-laden clouds bounce that colour all around me.
When I return home in the morning, perhaps after pausing to shovel the walk, the smell of breakfast makes me forget the initial slap in the face that is getting out into the cold darkness when I’m still sleepy and wanting a leisurely, luxurious start to the day. Rainer makes eggs and porridge and they fill the house with the smell of warmth and welcome.
I want to add a walk with the kids to our week. I’ve tried many different times to make a slightly more formal Nature Study work for us, but we always fade out after a time. My friend Wanda found something really wonderful that I think will work for us. It’s the Outdoor Hour Challenge. It uses the “Handbook of Nature Study” and features small, interesting, and manageable challenges. If we can skate in the yard and toboggan, I’m sure we’re hardy enough to live up to Charlotte Mason’s standards…at least for the time it takes our toes to get cold inside our boots. Let’s see if calling it a ‘challenge’ doesn’t have a motivating affect on the three of us.